15Building Organizational Decision Quality

If you want to change the culture of an organization, change the way people make decisions.

—Vincent Barabba

“I wish that my counterpart, the head of our field force, had attended DQ training with me!” says the technology team leader for a logistics company after a decision quality (DQ) session. “We are constantly sparring over decisions and debating from completely different frames of reference. If we both followed the DQ approach, we would be on the same side of the table, comparing different alternatives instead of debating about whose idea is better.” Decision professionals hear many comments like this—about the added value that comes from adopting DQ as a framework for making decisions in teams and across an organization.

Even so, 50 years of research and observation of organizational decision making1 documents the fact that organizations do not naturally follow the principles of DQ. Most deviate far from it. There is, in fact, a huge and observable gap between organizational behaviors and systematic adoption of decision quality. This gap leads to wasted opportunities for value creation as well as frustration and cynicism within organizations. Evidence of this gap can be seen in the following behaviors:

  • Frustrations with dysfunctional decision behaviors boil over, so leaders call for clarity of roles and authority that will give them the right to override the dysfunction: “Someone has to have the right to make the call!”
  • There ...

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